The most recent social media spot for the Marvel Studios Disney Plus streaming series Hawkeye promised some big surprises for the second half of the season. Prominent among the teases in the spot was a character, who was supposed to be mysterious, dressed in black with some rather interesting headgear. Fans of the comics immediately recognized that character as Yelena Belova, wearing her signature headgear from her days working for A.I.M. as the Adaptoid.
Rather than working for A.I.M., the MCU’s Yelena was revealed to be working for Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. While Val’s larger agenda is yet to be revealed, we do know that in the short-term, she has put Yelena on the trail of one of the heroes of Hawkeye: Clint Barton. When Val and Yelena met during the post-credit scene of this Summer’s Black Widow, we didn’t have enough information to fully understand the threat Yelena’s pursuit of Barton could pose. Thanks to a trade report, fans already knew Florence Pugh was going to appear in Hawkeye and the scene spelled out that she and Barton would be facing off against one another, but it wasn’t until fans worked through the first 3 episodes of the series that we could truly see the kind of trouble Belova could make for Clint.
The first 3 episodes of Hawkeye have spent a significant amount of time dealing with the fallout of Kate putting on the Ronin suit. The suit put Kate in danger, brought her and Clint together and put them both on the radar of the Tracksuits and their boss and, as we learned in Episode 3, “Echoes”, brings back painful memories for Maya Lopez as the Ronin was responsible for the death of her father. As Episode 3 ended, Clint’s secret was still safe but it seems like it’s only a matter of time until his past truly comes back to haunt him. And now that we can tie it all together, it seems like it’ll be Yelena that brings everything crashing down on Barton.
Despite only a couple people being shown to have been aware that Clint was the man behind the Ronin mask, it turns out that Val, who seems to be pretty resourceful, was in the know all along. As our friend Caleb Borchers pointed out on Twitter, Val didn’t just sent Yelena after Clint, she sent her after Ronin Clint. And that’s going to cause Clint a whole lot more headaches.
It seems safe to say that once Yelena enters the picture, Clint’s secret identity will be revealed to all interested parties in some way. How will Kate deal with the fact that her hero is a murderer? How will Echo respond to finally learning the identity of her father’s killer? What will Wilson Fisk’s move be when he learns it was an Avenger that nearly wiped out his criminal empire? Of course, Yelena is operating on bad info from Val, so what will happen when she learns the truth about what happened to Natasha? The second half of this season might not quite have the surprises the spot promised, but it certainly will have a lot of drama all tied to Kate putting on that damn suit.
The first 3 episodes of Hawkeye are now streaming on Disney Plus.